Monday, September 28, 2009
A new push to define 'person,' and to outlaw abortion in the process
Some abortion foes think the rationale for Roe vs. Wade is vulnerable. They're trying to amend state constitutions -- including California's -- to define personhood from conception.
By Robin Abcarian
September 28, 2009
It is one of the enduring questions of religion and science, and lately of American politics: When does a fertilized egg become a person?
Abortion foes, tired of a profusion of laws that limit but do not abolish abortion, are trying to answer the question in a way that they hope could put an end to legalized abortion.
Across the country, they have revived efforts to amend state constitutions to declare that personhood -- and all rights accorded human beings -- begins at conception.
From Florida to California, abortion foes are gathering signatures, pressing state legislators and raising money to put personhood measures on ballots next year. In Louisiana, a class at a Catholic high school is lobbying state legislators as part of a civics exercise.
"We have big and small efforts going on in 30 states right now," said Keith Mason, co-founder of Colorado-based Personhood USA. "Our goal is to activate the population."
Critics deride the effort as the "egg-as-person" movement and say it threatens in vitro fertilization; some kinds of birth control, including IUDs and pills; and stem cell research. They say that Americans will reject it as a government intrusion into their privacy.
"It's a backdoor abortion ban," said Ted Miller, spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has worked with Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups to defeat such measures.
Since the mid-1970s, polls have found that about three-quarters of Americans support legalized abortion in at least some circumstances.
But this year, for the first time since the Gallup Poll started asking people in 1995 whether they identified themselves as "pro-life" or "pro-choice," a slight majority of Americans (51%) picked "pro-life."
Proponents of personhood measures root their hopes in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, in which Justice Harry Blackmun wrote for the majority that a fetus is not legally a person.
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SEPTEMBER 28, 2009
Lila Rose, Pastor Walter Hoye to launch CA Human Rights Campaign today
I'm told Lila Rose, Pastor Walter Hoye, Judie Brown, and the "Bella Movie guys" (don't know which ones) will be present to launch the CA Human Rights Campaign at a press conference today in Sacramento.
It is there the group will submit language for the Human Rights Amendment to AG Jerry Brown, to be presented as a 2010 CA ballot initiative if all goes as planned.
The amendment "recognizes the inherent human rights, dignity and worth of all human beings from the beginning of their biological development," said Pastor Hoye in a statement.
This is commonly known as a personhood amendment, and they're popping up everywhere. According to Personhood USA, groups in 17 states are now at various stages of play on this.
The first was CO, where last November's effort was soundly defeated by voters 73-27%. But PersonhoodCO will be baaack with a 2010 voter intiative. (The female speaker you'll see in this video is good friend Leslie Hanks, who comments frequently on this blog and whose little granddaughter Tuesday died tragically of cancer in January.)...
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PERSONHOOD IS ABSOLUTE!
“Our fathers, recognizing God as the author of human life, proclaimed it a ‘self evident truth’ that every human being holds from the Creator an inalienable right to live … If this right be denied, no other can be acknowledged. If there be exceptions to this central, this universal proposition, that all men, without respect to complexion or condition, hold from the Creator the right to live, who shall determine what portion of the community shall be slain? And who shall perpetrate the murders?”
~ Joshua R. Giddings, 1858, in reference to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
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